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Pro-choice groups protest Casey’s support for bill restricting abortions |

Pro-choice groups protest Casey’s support for bill restricting abortions

Sen. Bob Casey
Sen. Bob Casey
Sen. Bob Casey

Pro-choice groups gathered Monday in Pittsburgh to protest Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s plan to vote for a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A vote was expected Monday on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act . A spokeswoman for Casey, who has campaigned as a anti-abortion Democrat, confirmed his intention to support the bill.

“This vote is terrible policy, terrible politics, and terribly disappointing,” a collection of groups wrote in a Facebook post announcing the protest. “Pennsylvanians deserve and expect better from our senator. We hope he will listen to our voices and our stories.”

The Pittsburgh chapters of The Women’s March on Washington and ACLU of Pennsylvania, along with the groups Indivisible Pittsburgh and Tuesdays with Toomey, were scheduled to protest in the Allegheny County Courthouse from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. before marching to the federal courthouse to protest an appearance by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The abortion bill was not expected to pass the Senate, where Republicans have a slight majority, according to Washington, D.C. publication the Hill . The Hill reported that two other Democrats planned to support the bill: Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

Casey, who is up for re-election this year, has supported Planned Parenthood, saying in a Huffington Post op-ed that “we must do everything we can to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in this country.”

Tracy Baton, director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Women’s March on Washington, said the group was “excited that people want to continue to educate Senator Casey on why women and their doctors should make these decisions, but also extremely excited about Senator Casey’s full-throated support of Planned Parenthood and their ongoing programs.”

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf recently vetoed a bill that would have made abortions after 20 weeks illegal in Pennsylvania, after the measure passed both chambers of the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Supporters of the bill argued that medical advances mean a fetus can sometimes survive outside the womb between 20 weeks and 24 weeks, which is the current limit on abortions. The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision links abortion law to viability outside the womb.

According to Planned Parenthood, 99 percent of abortions occur before 21 weeks. But, according to the organization, “when they are needed later in pregnancy, it’s often in very complex circumstances.”

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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